Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

These cookies turned out so puffy that they caught me by surprise.

 And they’re so vanilla-ey, but that was by design because I’m a vanilla fiend.

They are a little bit peanut buttery even though I didn’t add peanut butter to the actual cookie dough.

Instead, I used peanut butter chips and they gave a subtle peanut butter flavor yet not so much that the vanilla flavor was lost.

I was going to add white chocolate chips, too, but I know not everyone is as crazy about white chocolate as I am, so I refrained.

I did add something to them that I almost never bake with. Good ole Lard. Good ole Crisco.

I read cookie making guides and online websites devoted to The Perfect Cookie and never tire of the epic food science quest in finding what makes cookies puffy, flat, chewy, crispy, you name it.

Many people swear by some lard to keep things moist and puffy. Scientifically, that makes sense.

And boy, puffy is what happened.

That would be pufffffyyyy.

Especially the second cookie down from the top. That was my favorite cookie of the batch and I made some glorious teeth marks in that little tophat.

Not using butter is a smidge of a sacrifice in the flavor department because there is nothing that can replace the flavor of butter in baking.

However, in terms of puffiness, chewiness, and softness, these babies were perfectly puffalicious and right on point.



Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen small-to-medium sized cookies (I made 22 cookies)

1/2 cup Crisco (or vegetable shortening)

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch salt, optional

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup peanut butter chips (or butterscotch, white chocolate, chocolate chips if preferred)

Preheat oven to 375F and line two cookie sheets with Silpat liners, parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, beat together Crisco, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla, until batter is creamy. Add the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, flour and mix until just combined. Fold in peanut butter chips by hand. Cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 if you’re rushed. Do not skip chilling the dough if you want puffy cookies because cold dough results in puffier cookies.

Using a cookie scoop, form 1 inch balls (or roll balls by hand) and place on prepared cookie sheets, allowing for adequate spacing (these cookies do not spread much, but like all cookies, they spread some; and the colder the dough, the less they will spread). Bake for 8-10 minutes or until barely brown. Remove cookies from oven when they look slightly under-baked and allow cookies to cool and firm up on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving to cooling racks. Store cookies in an airtight container on the countertop or freeze for up to 3 months.


 I like vanilla-flavored foods. Actually, I am passionately in love with vanilla-flavored most anything, and I usually use twice the recommended amount of vanilla extract in any recipe.

The way I wrote the above recipe, you don’t need to do that, but if you’re really wanting to go nuts with vanilla flavor because you’re obsessed like I am, you could possibly add one more teaspoon or perhaps some vanilla bean paste to knock your vanilla socks right off.

I hate dry baked goods with a passion and these are anything but.

And puffy.

Related cookie recipes:

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies

Mango and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies

White Chocolate Recipes

Peanut Butter Recipes

Do you have success with cookies turning out the way you want them to? Puffy or thinner, chewy or crispy, when you want them to be?  Or is it all pretty random?

There are times I think I have it all figured out and then, I’ll get flatter cookies like these (fruit used) or these (rum used) no matter what I tried to counteract it.

They taste great and are soft and super chewy, except their appearance is flatter. Baking with fruit or booze tends to throw scientific baking principles for a loop.

Do you bake with Crisco or shortening vs. butter? Thoughts?

Shortening = higher, puffier, lighter cookies but that telltale butter flavor (which I love) is absent

Butter = better flavor but it has a lower melting point so the cookies spread faster and stay flatter

In the end, all that really matters is that you have cookies to eat. And cookies are good. Period.

Thanks for the Practically Raw Vegan Cookbook Giveaway entries


  1. Do you know I have NEVER baked with Crisco? I feel like I was raised in the generation where Crisco became a bad word. But based on these cookies, I should give it a try!

  2. My mom always used shortening in cookies growing up, so I know puffy cookies!! My typical chocolate chip cookie is the Toll House recipe, but with half butter and half shortening. That way you get some of the flavor from the butter and some of the texture from the shortening. Now I want cookies!

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  4. I am in love with this combination of flavors Averie, they sound awesome! Puffy cookies are my favorite so these are right up my alley :)

  5. Hi! These look wonderful. I do have a question I’ve been curious about: are you now able to tolerate gluten?

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  8. I just made these after finding them on Pinterest and they are amazing!!!
    I blogged about them, thanks for posting!

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  11. So I made these last night, they are to die for but mine came out flat and crispy! What did I do wrong??

    • there are so many variables with cooking baking but I’d surmise your dough was not well-chilled or chilled enough, cookies were placed too “flat” on the baking sheet and not domed up enough to begin with, your baking soda was no longer fresh/active, you didn’t add enough flour…but I’d go with dough temperature. LMK if you re-try and what works!

  12. Can I use butter instead of crisco? Even though the cookies will not be as puffy. Did you add PB chips when they came out of the oven. There are some that are not melted in the photo.

    • Yes I’m sure you can use butter. All chips were added prior to baking; that’s the nature of chips…some melt, some don’t. It’s the stabilizers in chips that cause that. Without stabilizers, you’d have soupy chocolate, or soupy PB, and so this is advantageous when baking and you don’t want soup, but want chips.

    • Thank you! The cookies look fantastic. Do you think I would use the same measurements for butter as cisco?

    • It would be a good starting place….

  13. Thank you for a great recipe! Mixed up the dough last night using a few tsp cornstarch with the flour and mixed peanut butter and butterscotch chips. Refrigerated overnight and baked them this morning. They are excellent! Great texture, both crisp and chewy, and nice puffiness as promised!! Keep up the good work!

    • So glad to hear they were a HIT!!! Interesting about the corn starch; I would have never thought to add that but yes, the overnight refrigeration is KEY! LMK if you make other things :)

  14. I made these didn’t look nothing like the picture flat not fluffy but crisp and chewy. The cookie was great but when you bit into the banana part it I didn’t care for it . Would think you would have to eat them right away cause the banana wouldn’t keep long inside the cookie. Loved the taste of the cookie. I will make it again but without the banana.

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  16. Yum! Perfect for a potluck we have coming up. I’m going to try coconut oil instead of the crisco and see how it works.

    • The only issue is that coconut oil melts and spreads and I can almost guarantee they will NOT stay puffy. They’ll taste awesome, but they will spread. If you don’t want to use shortening, you can use butter or vegan butter, but coconut oil..eek, they are gonna spread on you I think. But…if you do it, please LMK how it goes b/c I LOVE food/field reports!!

  17. Could something else substitute the Crisco?

  18. I just made these and they are so delicious!!!! I think I will have to make a double batch next time. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Lard and shortening aren’t the same thing. Shortening is plant based. Lard is from animal fat. My grandmother who lives on a farm always baked with lard. My grandmother from the city used shortening or margarine. I bake with butter mostly, but I do have some good recipes that use shortening. Between lard and shortening, I’d go with the shortening. Lard has a taste to it that seeps into the baking. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Shortening has a cleaner taste that doesn’t distract from the flavors you want.

    • thanks for all the info…the post was a bit tongue-in-cheek since I rarely have the opportunity to say “lard” and the younger generation of bakers don’t tend to use it, but yes, lard (animal) and shortening (plant) – got it :)

  20. did you know that crisco is one molecule away from plastic? horrible stuff to be putting in your body. they also color it to look more appealing.

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  22. I nce had a friend tell me that the secret toher amazing chocolate chip cookies was using half Butter and half Butter flavor Crisco. That is the only way I will make Chocolate Chip Cookies now. Makes amazing cookies!

  23. I just made these, they literally just came out of my oven. My entire family loves them and my house smells divine! Definitely keeping this recipe, thank you!

  24. I left the peanut butter chips out completely, the cookies were still absolutely delicious but I found they had more of a cinnamon taste than the anticipated vanilla. Maybe next time I’ll double it? Anyways family loved it and I will be using this recipe again

    • At only 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon for a whole batch of cookies and 2 teaspoons vanilla, my hunch is that it’s your vanilla extract that isn’t super flavorful or intense.

      Doubling it would put you at 4 teaspoons vanilla, which is not unheard of, but quite a significant amount. I think leaving out the pb chips may be a culprit, too, for the flavor.

      All in all, sounds like a winner for you! Thanks for making them and for the field report – this is the stuff I live for :)

  25. Made these today – they are phenomenal! Love the subtly of the cinnamon!!

  26. Those look yummy. I love puffy cookies so I always use Butter Crisco in place of butter. Can’t wait to try these.

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  32. Hi, I did not read any of the many comments, so if this is redundant, forgive me. If you want to try a great alternative to the hydrogenated fat in crisco and still avoid lard and butter, try coconut oil. I have been using it in cooking and baking since the summer and it is awesome. And so healthy (we never knew!).

    • Thanks and I love coconut oil. This is the one and only post on my site, well other than a buttercream frosting that uses Crisco, in nearly 4 years of blogging and thousands of posts and I can say with certainty, it will be my last :) I love either real butter or coconut oil – yes indeed!

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  35. I’ve made these cookies twice in one week…They are a big hit in our house! Such a quick, simple, yummy recipe. I made the first batch following the exact recipe and they turned out great. Since I prefer using butter over shortening, I made the second batch using 1/2 shortening & 1/2 butter, they were just slightly less puffy (still a nice puff) and the flavor was great. Either way this recipe was a great success! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Thanks for the feedback and field report, Jill! I love comments like this because you trialed the recipe almost side by side – and I have to remake them using half butter/half shortening OR… try the butter-flavored shortening that people tell me I have to try. Good to know that there’s only slightly less puff with the butter/shortening combo but that it sounds like an additional flavor boost. Love that! Thanks for the comment and trying the recipe…twice :)

  36. In process of making these for a cookie exchange. I followed recipe to a T and refrigerated both for 30 min and over night. Although they are not crispy, I am not getting any puffiness. However, it doesn’t matter as they are delicious!

    • Glad you think they’re delicious! Don’t know what to tell you about the puffiness. I’ve had lots of people make them with success but maybe check your baking soda to make sure it’s fresh and/or use slightly more flour in your next batch. More flour will add more structure and increase the puff!

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  38. I made these today and they’re absolutely fantastic! Thank you :)

  39. You had me until the Crisco ;) I will substitute butter or coconut oil to avoid the trans fats :) I love your vanilla extract recipe and have my own batch brewing now.

  40. Made these today and they were great! I used the butter flavored Crisco to keep that buttery flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

  41. My mom uses Crisco butter in her cookies and they are the best cookies every.

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  43. If you are worried about losing the butter flavor, I have a recipe that divides the butter and shortening in half, which I think makes a perfect cookie. These combinations of flavors look amazing!

  44. The raw dough is delicious (and I know unhealthy/”deadly” because of the raw egg, so I was excited for the finished product. For unknown reasons, they burned horribly! For my third batch, I lowered the oven to 350*, and they still burned! Finally on the fourth batch, with the oven set to 300*, VICTORY! PS, I’m going to a cookie swap tomorrow, so yes I am obsessed with getting them perfect. Now I’m trying them with toffee instead of PB. *fingers crossed!*

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